I'm planning a 3 week October trip to Romania, which I want to begin in Budapest because I've never been there. The remainder of the trip will be in Romania. I'd appreciate some info on: 1) Fly Buda - Bucharest or rent a car & see some sights, if so, what's the must see, and 2) Whats the best itinerary for getting to see real Romania and maybe some time near the sea. Train? Rental car? I'm working with romanian tourism and some other guides but the input here is alway valuable. Thanks
You might want to put this question in the Hungary forum, I know a couple of people there are familiar with Romania and will help you connect the two countries the best way possible. I adore Budapest so will offer my 2 cents--plan at least 4 full days there! Heading back in May for the 4th time in as many years.
Thank you - I did put the request in the Hungary forum. Excited to hear that you love Budapest - one of my lifelong dreams is getting there. Keep me posted about your favorite things.
Definitely by rental car, the train and bus network is just to unpredictable, slow and with few connections. A great Romania tour means mainly Transylvania, Maramures, Bucovina, Bucharest and, if have time enough, Danube Delta. You have to count an average speed of 50-60 km/hour, no more, driving in Romania (don't trust the time estimation given by Google Maps, Michelin and others).
Maybe you should follow an itinerary like that: Oradea (Art Nouveau architecture and 16 century fortress) - Cluj Napoca (the unofficial capital city of Transylvania, maybe Rimetea village - up in beautiful Apuseni mountains and Bontida Castle) - Turda salt mine - Alba Iulia fortress - Sibiu (2 days, visiting nearby Marginimea villages, the great outdoor Astra museum, the medieval city) - climb the Transfagarasan highway - Bucharest (2 days, don't miss the Village and (or) Peasant museums, the Palace of Parliament, the old Lipscani quarter) - [if time and like wet outdoos, count 4 days to go and return from Danube Delta: from Tulcea hire a local guide and boat, without it you won't see anything] - Sinaia's Peles castle - Brasov and Sighisoara area (3-4 days, see the walled towns and nearby Saxon villages, castles, fortresses, like Malancrav, Viscri, Bran, Rasnov, Prejmer or Harman) - Red Lake and Bicaz gorges pass to Romanian Moldavia - Agapia and Neamt monasteries - Bucovina (2 days, hire a local guide and visit the painted monasteries and add, maybe, Dragomirna which is not painted outside but looks lovely) - Maramures (3-4 days, hire a local guide and see wooden churches and monasteries, the Merry Cemetery, Vaser Valley steam train, traditional lifestyle, crafts, markets and farms, Sighetu Marmatiei's Memorial of the Victims of the Communism and Elie Wiesel House - the little but impressive Jewish museum) - return to Budapest through Satu Mare and Nyiregyhaza.
We took a train between Budapest and Timisoara, Romania. It was very reasonable. We loved Budapest and wish we spent more time in Timisoara. We also really liked Sibu, Brasov and Bucharest. We rented a car, 1-way no drip fee from Sixt, but the driving was somewhat stressful at times. But we travel with a wheelchair so the car makes it easiest.